Five-star coffee one day, behind bars the next: Why’s this cafe owner in jail?

Sharon Rayner, who ran a cafe in Kaikura for nearly a decade and served some of the best coffee in the region, is currently behind bars.

She was sentenced to two months in prison on Friday for disregarding a food safety order.

It appears to be the first time someone has been sentenced to jail for violating the Food Act of 2014, but the context of the sentence includes a previous arrest, multiple failed court summonses, and an ongoing refusal to acknowledge she was breaking the law.

In 2012, Rayner opened Bean Me Up in South Bay as a food cart, leveraging his experience in the hospitality industry.

Even those who disagree with her personally hold that her coffee is exceptional. Reviews on Tripadvisor are almost always positive, with the exception of those that mention her stance on Covid-19.

Her daughters stated in a joint statement that Rayner’s business was run with “common sense and good practice,” which is why it had moved from a cart to a cafe in the heart of the city.

“She gives back to the community by providing free food and coffee to those who are in need. “No one has ever been denied a coffee for lack of funds,” they said.

She became a public figure in Kaikura after the 2016 earthquakes, distributing free coffee for weeks “to give the locals something to anticipate.”

Read more • stuff.co.nz

Suggested Reading